Following the alleged rejection of Nigerian yams recently, one of the exporters of the commodity, Managing Director, Wan Nyikwagh Farms Nigeria Limited, Mr Yandev Amaabai, revealed that after the official flag-off of the policy on June 29, 2017, his yams were made to pass 12 ports before arriving the United States of America, USA.
Amaabai stated this while explaining why some of the exported yams got rotten, and also debunked reports on social and conventional media that alleged that there was outright rejection of exported yams from Nigeria.
According to him all his exported yams were bought on arrival, which was because by all standards yams from Nigeria were far better in terms of quality and taste, and now they are out of stock.
He said: “I moved my yams from Benue to Lagos on 25 and 26 of June, 2017, while the flag-off for the yams exportation was on the 29th June 2017, by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh.
“When we got to Lagos, I discovered that we needed a certain containers to export the yams. I discovered such containers were not available so we were given a space at the port to pack the yams.
“After the flag-off, I was able to get the required container. So my yams were loaded on July 7, 2017, and left Nigeria on July 9 to the United States of America, USA. The yams did not get to US until Sept 1, 2017.
“Movement within the ports took us more than two to three days. To move a container from Tin Can Port to Apapa Port, just a close distance was hectic for us.
“My yams went through 12 ports before it finally got to US, and if we can get ships that are going direct route, that will have been better and the cost will also be reduced.”
According to him a particular government agency that supposed to educate yam exporters on how to package and handle yams before export lacked the capacity to do so.
“From my experience, the government agency that was supposed to supervise how we were packaging the yams did not know the exact thing they were supposed to do. “We were asked to cut the bottom of the yams and put wax but when we got to US, we discovered that that was not necessary. The moment you cut the bottom of the yam, it makes it rotten quicker.
“Then we packed our yams to the warehouse. So, wherever this story is coming from that America government says that yams exported from Nigeria are not good, I don’t know about that.
“Even on the shelves in US, you can still see some Ghanaian yams rotten. I have pictures as evidence to show in case of any doubt. “There is no way these yams could have been 100 per cent ok because of the time wasted to ship them to US.
“So some of the yams when we arrived US were actually not too good again, but most of them were good and we sold all out. So far, it was a successful story. I believe this is a learning process. I have learnt a lot. Next time, I should be able to cut the cost at least half of what I inquired from this last experience”, he said.